Energy consumption aside, how else can we hit the dimmer switch on our planet? We decided to go on a search for sustainable lights.  Image by Dounia Home #sustainablelights #ecofriendlylights #environmentallyfriendlylights #sustainablejungle
Image by Dounia Home
Energy consumption aside, how else can we hit the dimmer switch on our planet? We decided to go on a search for sustainable lights.  Image by Goodee #sustainablelights #ecofriendlylights #environmentallyfriendlylights #sustainablejungle
Image by Goodee
Energy consumption aside, how else can we hit the dimmer switch on our planet? We decided to go on a search for sustainable lights.  Image by David Trubridge #sustainablelights #ecofriendlylights #environmentallyfriendlylights #sustainablejungle
Image by David Trubridge

7 Sustainable Lights to Illuminate Your Eco-Home


We had a lightbulb moment recently—one in which we questioned how sustainable our literal lights were. 

Energy consumption aside, what other aspects of lighting could be hitting the dimmer switch on our planet?

We decided to go on a search for sustainable lights.  

While we use them every single day, most of us don’t give a flicker of thought to the flick of a switch. However, there are ways to brighten up a room that are better for people and our planet.

Like creating a well-lit ambiance with eco friendly and recycled materials —especially when you add an energy-efficient bulb!

So, how many brands does it take to change an eco friendly lightbulb?

Let’s start with the brightest three: 

Dounia Home brings the magic of Marrakesh into our homes with their Morrocan metal lights. Award-winning David Trubridge lights are found in museums around the globe.

Last, but not least, Goodee makes us feel good about our sustainable light purchases that support global artisans. 

We shine some light on how we chose these brands at the end of the article. 

*This post contains affiliate links

1. DAVID TRUBRIDGE

Energy consumption aside, how else can we hit the dimmer switch on our planet? We decided to go on a search for sustainable lights.  Image by David Trubridge #sustainablelights #ecofriendlylights #environmentallyfriendlylights #sustainablejungle
Image by David Trubridge
About David Trubridge

Picture the most beautiful eco friendly and ethical engagement ring you’ve ever seen.

Now imagine it as a light. 

This is what you get from the brilliant art that is a David Trubridge pendant light. His work has been featured in not only private residences, but also commercial spaces, museums, restaurants, cafes, and hotels around the world. 

Surrounded by the natural splendor of his New Zealand home, David is committed to being as environmentally responsible as possible. This transfers to his lighting designs, which combine modern geometric looks with a natural and organic flair.

Every piece is inspired by patterns found in nature, and they all tell a story. The Koura pendant (pictured) is based on the Maori name for the small fresh water shrimps that live in New Zealand rivers. 

The pendant lights come in small, medium, and large sizes and feature a few different colors: natural, white, black, caramel, and some with a color stain on the interior. 

David Trubridge’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials:

All of David Trubridge’s pendants are made from sustainable bamboo. While some designs used plastic initially, they have since “redesigned them to exclude plastic and this positive movement will give them a new life…and a more sustainable one!”

Supply chain & labor practices:

The sustainable lights are designed by David and produced by him and his small team in New Zealand. We hope to learn more about the sourcing aspect of their supply chain.

Green business practices:

David is internationally recognized as a leader and environmentally responsible designer. He and his team consider sustainability in every step of the process. 

For instance, each lamp comes with a kitset that is minimalistic and lightweight, contributing to a reduced carbon footprint for shipping which, according to David himself, is a way to “help preserve our beautiful sea and land environments.”

Everything is shipped in a recyclable cardboard box. 

Available: Ylighting

2. VARALUZ

Energy consumption aside, how else can we hit the dimmer switch on our planet? We decided to go on a search for sustainable lights.  Image by Varaluz #sustainablelights #ecofriendlylights #environmentallyfriendlylights #sustainablejungle
Image by Varaluz
About Varaluz

Varaluz takes natural inspiration to a new level with their elegant eco friendly lighting fixtures that are designed with a better world in mind. 

Based in Las Vegas, they craft contemporary sustainable lighting solutions made with recycled, sustainable, reclaimed, and natural materials.

Varaluz has some of the most sustainable lights—and they have a lot of them! Choose between sconces, ceiling lights, bathroom lighting, pendants, and chandeliers. 

Varaluz’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials:

Even with a vast selection of designs and sizes, you get sustainable materials with a Varaluz light. Common materials include recycled steel, glass discs, natural rope, pinewood, and bark. When finishes are used they’re always low-VOC.

Supply chain & labor practices:

Everything is proudly handmade in the Philippines. Beyond that, they don’t specify supplier or manufacturing details so we’ll be reaching out to learn more.

Available: Ylighting

3. DOUNIA HOME

Energy consumption aside, how else can we hit the dimmer switch on our planet? We decided to go on a search for sustainable lights.  Image by Dounia Home #sustainablelights #ecofriendlylights #environmentallyfriendlylights #sustainablejungle
Image by Dounia Home
About Dounia Home

Dounia Home is committed to preserving traditional artistry—only this time the focus is on Morocco. Founder and designer Dounia Tamri-Loeper was born and raised and from a young age influenced by Morocco’s artistic aesthetic and rich culture.

The sustainable lighting fixtures sold today are inspired by what Dounia saw as a young girl. 

Every piece—chandeliers, wall sconces, pendant lights, table lamps, ceiling fixtures, and mount lights—does its part to preserve traditional Moroccan metal work. 

Dounia Home’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials:

High-quality materials that incorporate eco-friendly components are prioritized by Dounia Home. Primarily, they use Moroccan-mined solid brass, nickel silver, and copper metal in their products. 

All sustainable lights are hand-etched, hand-polished, and hand-sealed to ensure the highest quality. 

Supply chain & labor practices:

Dounia Home works with a small group of master artisans who are paid a premium (on average 30% higher wages) and provided with reasonable work hours and opportunities for growth. 

Their collaborative business model is also a way to support, showcase, and ultimately preserve these traditional art forms. 

We’re hoping to learn a little more from the brand about their mineral and metal sourcing (since mining, particularly in Africa, is known for its ethical issues).

Green business practices:

Not only does Dounia Home keep their supply chain local by sourcing, developing, and making every product in Morocco, but they also use zero waste metal manufacturing standards. 

By purchasing through Made Trade, your gorgeously intricate light will come with 100% carbon offset shipping and will include an automatic donation to a grassroots organization (through Made Trade’s partnership with 1% for the Planet).

Available: Made Trade

4. SMILELAMPWORKS

Energy consumption aside, how else can we hit the dimmer switch on our planet? We decided to go on a search for sustainable lights.  Image by SmileLampWorks #sustainablelights #ecofriendlylights #environmentallyfriendlylights #sustainablejungle
Image by SmileLampWorks
About SmileLampWorks

SmileLampWorks may only be just starting out, but with well over a thousand sales and an average five-star review, it’s clear this Etsy shop has a bright future.

With a focus on creating sleek and modern designs using long-lasting materials, SmileLampWorks has found a favorite: sealed brass. 

For those unfamiliar with sealed brass, it resists tarnishing (something that commonly happens to brass when it’s exposed to oxygen). 

This is what you’ll find with these smile-worthy eco friendly lights, including ceiling lights, wall sconces, geometric lamps, bathroom vanities, scissors lamps, and chandeliers. 

SmileLampWorks’ Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials:

These sustainable lights are made solely with brass —a copper-based alloy that is easy and energy-efficient to recycle. Recycling brass requires less energy than other metals like steel and aluminum.

Supply chain & labor practices:

SmileLampWorks designs and hand makes every single item in their small Orange, California studio.

We’ll be reaching out to confirm where or how they source their brass and other metals.

Available: Etsy

5. TEN THOUSAND VILLAGES

Energy consumption aside, how else can we hit the dimmer switch on our planet? We decided to go on a search for sustainable lights.  Image by Ten Thousand Villages #sustainablelights #ecofriendlylights #environmentallyfriendlylights #sustainablejungle
Image by Ten Thousand Villages
About Ten Thousand Villages

Ten Thousand Villages brings hundreds of artisans from all around the world to the comfort of your home. 

They’re one of our favorite places for ethical online shopping because each product has been produced in a way that goes beyond fair trade.

Every purchase from TTV directly supports the artisan (most likely a woman) who made it. Because of this, TTV is the best place to shop for sustainable furniture, accessories, clothing, jewelry, fair trade gifts, eco friendly cookware, eco friendly pet products, and more.

They also have some of the most unique lamps, including salt crystal lamps and decorative tabletop shade lamps, and hanging lamp shades—all inspired by different countries of the world.

Ten Thousand Villages’ Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials:

Salt lamps are beneficial for more than just light because they release negative ions when heated.

But are salt lights sustainable?

Those sold by TTV are made of responsibly-mined salt rock from Pakistan’s Punjab province. Even knowing just this is a big step for transparency—as most salt lamps aren’t willing to share where they’ve been produced. 

Other materials you’ll find in their various lampshades include silver, iron, cotton, bamboo, silk paper, and galvanized aluminum.

Supply chain & labor practices:

TTV works with several different fair trade partners to bring you their sustainable lamp selection. 

The minimalist mood lamp is produced by their partner Noah’s Ark, based out of India, while the Forest Ferns Mood Lamp is from fair trade company Prokitree. The women artisans receive a safe workplace, fair wages, and training with new techniques to help expand their skills. 

The salt lamps are the product of Dominion Traders based in Karachi, Pakistan.

Dominion Traders provides underprivileged artisans across independent workshops with equipment, rent-to-own working facilities, profit-sharing, pension plans, medical benefits, advances, interest-free loans, and equal opportunity employment regardless of race or gender. 

TTV themselves uses a global maker-to-market mentality to break the cycles of generational poverty.

Not only are they founding members of the World Fair Trade Organization, but they’re also partners with The Fair Trade Federation, Level Ground Trading, and Equal Exchange.

Their impact is huge, and over the years they have directly impacted the lives of more than 20,000 artisans in 30 different countries by investing 99 million dollars in these communities. 

They communicate directly with artisans to determine prices that will not only allow them to survive, but to thrive and grow as talented artisans. 

Green business practices:

TTV is based on supporting artisans, but they’re also committed to our planet and prioritize the use of renewable, recycled, and locally sourced materials.

Additionally, the traditional methods used by many artisans are inherently energy and water-efficient.

Community & charitable giving:

The bulk of TTVs revenue (92%) goes directly back into supporting their mission. It supports things like microfinance, payment prior to export, and a safety net for artisan communities.

Available: Ten Thousand Villages

6. BICYCLE GLASS CO.

Energy consumption aside, how else can we hit the dimmer switch on our planet? We decided to go on a search for sustainable lights.  Image by Bicycle Glass Co.  #sustainablelights #ecofriendlylights #environmentallyfriendlylights #sustainablejungle
Image by Bicycle Glass Co.
About Bicycle Glass Co.

Illuminate your space with sconces, pendants, chandeliers, and semi-flush mounts by Bicycle Glass Co. 

This young brand was founded by independent glass artists David Royce and Michael Boyd to provide quality, sustainability, and affordability. 

It was their belief that “high-quality, handmade glass products should be within reach for everyone, as should practicing sustainability. We are committed to keeping our unique lighting affordable.”

With the ability to shop by hardware mount, shape, glass finish, or inspiration, this brand is more like your own illumination interior designer than a light maker.

Bicycle Glass Co.’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials:

All Bicycle Glass sustainable lighting solutions are made with locally-sourced, 100% post-consumer recycled (and recyclable) glass. A compliment to locally manufactured American made furniture in your home.

These eco friendly lights already come with sustainable dimmable LED lights “as part of our company’s overall commitment to the environment”. 

Supply chain & labor practices:

Bicycle Glass has a team of dedicated artisans in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Each piece is hand blown one at a time and designed to last.

You can even watch this video to see how each light is made.  

Green business practices:

Every piece from Bicycle Glass is made-to-order (reducing waste) and can be customized to fit any space.

Their studio is almost fully carbon neutral because they offset all electricity usage through renewable wind energy projects.

Recycled packaging is used for shipping.  

Available: Bicycle Glass Co.

7. GOODEE

Energy consumption aside, how else can we hit the dimmer switch on our planet? We decided to go on a search for sustainable lights.  Image by Goodee #sustainablelights #ecofriendlylights #environmentallyfriendlylights #sustainablejungle
Image by Goodee
About Goodee

Goodee is here to help us—along with makers and creators—make a positive social impact. 

Their global marketplace values what all marketplaces should: transparency, ethical treatment of employees, and upcycling. 

According to them, it’s where “good design and good purpose intersect.”

This “good purpose” is easy to see in their list of values by which you can shop: community engagement, gender advocacy, natural/recycled materials, and more. These are inspired by the UN’s sustainable development goals and uncompromising standards for Goodee. 

When it comes to the best sustainable lights, Goodee’s selection can’t be beaten. There are many lamps and pendants to choose from—all sustainable and socially beneficial. 

They also sell energy-efficient bulbs by Tala that reduce energy use by 90% and give the bulb a life 10 to 15 times longer than traditional bulbs. 

Plus, if the light itself doesn’t brighten a room, the colors of these light fixtures surely will.

Goodee’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials:

As Goodee has a lot of lighting solutions, naturally there are a fair amount of materials used, too.  

Any of their woven lights (like the pictured Bella Lamp) are made by Burkina Faso’s Weaving for Change Initiative from straw and hand-dyed yarns. 

Other materials include local elephant grass, polished brass, recycled PET plastic bottles, and FSC-certified hardwoods.

Supply chain & labor practices:

Poverty reduction is important to Goodee and they work with brands that ensure a living wage for all of the workers throughout their supply chain. They also favor brands that promote gender advocacy and community engagement. 

Each product description shares the story of the artisan /organization / collective who made the product. ACdo (makers of the Eperara Siapidara lamps), for instance, employ Columbian artisans displaced by guerrilla warfare.

For obvious reasons, Goodee is a Certified B Corp. 

Green business practices:

Some Goodee products support a circular economy (i.e. waste reduction and maximum functionality). Others practice advanced techniques to reduce their water / ecological footprint and annual carbon emissions. 

Community & charitable giving:

Goodee does good by donating to environmental and social justice organizations through their membership with 1% for the Planet. A portion of proceeds from the sale of some items goes towards disenfranchised groups.

Available: Goodee

HOW WE FOUND THE MOST SUSTAINABLE LIGHTS

So, exactly how did we find which lights are sustainable

Well, we actually treated them like the garments in our closets! 

No, we’re not trying to replicate the notorious A Christmas Story leg lamp by playing dress up with lampshades, but we did use the same criteria that we use for sustainable and ethical fashion

Materials:

When it comes to the most eco friendly lights, we have to make two main material considerations: the lamp itself and the bulb. 

For the former, we were happy to see natural materials (bamboo, sustainably sourced wood, and jute), recycled materials (steel and PET plastic bottles), and easily recyclable ones (brass, glass, and aluminum).

These materials made up the bulk of the sustainable lights we found.

Salt lamps were the exception, but are salt lights sustainable?

Mining of any kind is going to have an environmental impact. Like other types of mining, getting the materials for these salt lamps requires machinery and dynamite (which aren’t great for our planet or workers). 

Sorry to be the bearers of bad news, but there’s very little evidence they achieve any of their claimed benefits (i.e. clean the air, oxygenate the brain, generate negative ions to attract pollutants and allergens).

To achieve this, they would have to be heated to around 1,500℉

However, one study has shown salt lamps to be associated with a small reduction in depressive symptoms, and we certainly don’t need science to prove how beautiful they are.

So are they worth the risk?  

Well, salt mining also has a complex political and economic element, and it provides workers in Pakistan with a domestic product they’re proud of. In this case, we need to look for brand specifics.

Make sure the brand tells you where and how they get their salt.  

Mining can be done ethically and sustainably, but it’s rare, so salt lamps should be approached with caution.

As for bulbs, eco friendly LED lights are the way to go to brighten up any space (and they are quite literally brighter). They’re also energy-efficient and long-lasting. 

Compared with conventional light bulbs, they save 80% energy and can last around 25% longer. Because they don’t have the fragile filaments of halogen bulbs, they’re more durable, too.

In fact, if everyone in the U.S. replaced just one conventional bulb with an LED one, the energy savings would be equal to the greenhouse gas emissions of 800,000 cars.

What’s more, traditional light bulbs contain toxic chemicals like mercury; you really don’t want to break them now do you… whereas LEDs don’t contain mercury so they’re much safer for your home and the environment once you throw them away.

But why do that when LEDs are also recyclable?!

Supply chain and labor practices:

We aren’t seeing (yet) the same level of transparency with the makers of the best eco friendly lights as we do from ethical jewelry brands or sustainable clothing brands.

Though, we were happy to see most of these brands at least know where the lights are made. 

In some cases, these brands are taking it further by sharing details about how their workers are supported (most times in ways that go beyond fair trade) and their talents are respected. 

Green business practices:

Beyond sustainable materials, the brightest eco friendly lights are those that are made-to-order to minimize waste, sent with recycled packaging, made through carbon conscious means, and designed to last a long time. We’re happy to see many brands accomplishing this.

Community & charitable giving:

While this isn’t a necessity, we feel illuminated when brands donate to environmental or social justice organizations.

In the case of some of these marketplaces, they don’t necessarily donate in the traditional sense but rather reinvest profits to better support their artisan communities. 


FINAL THOUGHTS ON SUSTAINABLE LIGHTING

Like an eco friendly night light illuminating the dark, we hope these brands provide you with a bit of hope for a better future. 

Admittedly, we can all feel a little gloomy when we think about the impact of our consumption, but if this list remind us of anything it’s that just one seemingly small change (like opting for sustainable lights) can have a positive impact. 

While it may only be a small light at the end of the very long tunnel, it’s a step toward a more sustainable future.

Did this brighten your day?

If so, feel free to share this article with your friends and family. We could all use a little light these days, after all!


Energy consumption aside, how else can we hit the dimmer switch on our planet? We decided to go on a search for sustainable lights.  Image by Bicycle Glass Co. #sustainablelights #ecofriendlylights #environmentallyfriendlylights #sustainablejungle

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